Fact File

  • Name: Geraldine
  • Age: 48
  • Job: Apprentice Electrician with Guinness Property
  • Where from: Sheffield
  • Favourite place: Home, it’s got to be
  • Favourite food: Sushi
  • Favourite animal: Cat
    Fave series: Outlander
  • Fave music: Charts stuff
  • Selfie or polaroid: Selfie
  • Common saying: Get up! (to my kids in the morning)
  • Pet peeve: My kids fighting
  • Inspirational woman: Katherine Johnson – she had to cope with not just being a woman in a so-called man’s job, but she was also having to deal with being black. So if she could be strong through all that then I can be strong through my smaller trials.

Geraldine wanted a good job with decent money and retrained to be an electrician. WEST supported her with a bursary and she’s now an apprentice with Guinness Property.

Why did you want to be an electrician?

It was mainly the pay. I was looking for a new job and found out it can be a good job that’s easy with decent money.

What’s the best thing about being an electrician?

I like the socialising. There is a variety of people you work with – other trades, housing officers, customers and you hear all their stories and about their lives. I’m a nosy person and it can get a bit interesting. There’s never a dull moment!

Have you experienced any sexism or other barriers?

Yes I have put up with a bit, and it has got nasty at times. Some people say that women shouldn’t be paid the same amount as men, and that they are not as strong as men.

My attitude is: I’m still here! They are not worth it. You have to work and get on with it. There are good parts and bad parts, and I’m not the sort of person to give up.

Geraldine outside one of the properties she maintainsWhat did your family and friends think about you becoming an electrician?

My mum and dad were really excited and positive. My friends were all for it, especially as I can do small things for them – I’m fixing a pendant lamp for one of them. My children maybe wanted me to be at home more.

What did you want to be when you were a little girl?

Something on TV like a singer or dancer. When I got a bit older I loved 80s films like Working Girl and I really wanted to work in an office. I did end up working in an office – and how wrong was I! Female jobs can pay less and not be such a laugh. Being an electrician is so much better: I’ve never laughed so much in my life.

Geraldine checking wiringWhat would you like to be doing in 10 years time?

Still an electrician. Or a train driver.

What do you do in your spare time?

I’ve got seven kids. Four of them are still at home so that takes up most of my time!

When I do get some spare time I like decorating the house. I like doing creative things and I recently made my own feather light shade. I help my daughter bake cookies and show my children how to cook. When I get the chance I like going out walking in nice scenery away from buildings.

We do team building days from work where we get to do all sorts of activities. The last was high rope aerial activities and the leap of faith. Then there’s the lazy me – laying in the baking sun so often if it’s a hot sunny day we will head off to the beach down south.